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Internet Association Launches UK Presence With Poll Showing Overwhelming Public Backing

IA UK Executive Director Daniel Dyball: “British people understand that the internet enriches lives, delivers real economic benefits, and provides innovation with a purpose.”

London, UK – Internet Association (IA) today launches in the UK with a new poll showing that British people think the internet industry has improved their lives more than any other sector.

The public ranked internet and technology companies in their top tier of industries they want the Government to encourage, beaten only by healthcare and education. And the survey also shows that older people are the most enthusiastic towards technology companies.

IA’s London-based Executive Director Daniel Dyball said, “British people understand that the internet enriches lives, delivers real economic benefits, and provides innovation with a purpose. Internet companies make an enormous contribution across British life. This poll confirms that the public wants the UK to seize all the opportunities that the internet offers.

“But we also know that there are legitimate concerns with how the internet is used, and as an industry we have a critical responsibility to engage in this debate in the UK. We look forward to working closely with Government and other stakeholders to both address these concerns and also enable the internet economy to thrive.”

IA’s newly-launched UK office will be responsible for leading the internet industry’s efforts to engage with policymakers and the media on key issues facing internet companies.

Alongside the poll, IA today publishes a Policy Charter containing new economic estimates of the contribution that the industry makes to the UK. It shows that the number of companies in the internet industry grew by 33 percent, or 6.6 percent annually, between 2012 and 2016. The internet industry contributed £44.8 billion in economic activity in the UK in 2016, a 21 percent increase since 2012. Jobs in the internet industry rose by 72,000 between 2013 and 2016 – while employees were among the most productive of any UK staff, each contributing £116,628 to the UK economy in 2016.

IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman said: “America and the UK have always had a special relationship, and we’re incredibly excited that our first international office is in London. I know Daniel will be a strong advocate for the internet economy in the UK.”

He added: “We also need to be very clear about the benefits and huge potential the internet brings to the UK, and we are delighted that this poll confirms that the public understands this. Great Britain is important to internet companies, and it is essential that we have representation in the UK.”

IA is calling on the UK Government to:

  • Partner with the internet industry to foster an environment that continues to support the UK’s thriving tech sector.
  • Better quantify the contribution the internet economy makes in the UK.
  • Encourage faster adoption of digital technology across the entire economy.
  • Ensure that any further online regulation is principles-based, sector neutral, and proportionate.
  • Incorporate impact assessments on the SME tech ecosystem as standard practice when considering any new regulation.
  • Continue to champion the principles of openness and non-discrimination that have governed the internet since its inception.

The poll, carried out by Deltapoll for Internet Association, reveals that of all new products and services introduced in the last 20 years, internet and technology companies were easily the public’s top answer when asked which industry had most improved their lives – with 45 percent of those surveyed choosing them.

When it comes to which industries the Government ought to be encouraging, 26 percent said internet and technology firms – compared to other high-tech business like aerospace on just 12 percent, or a mainstay like car manufacturing on 10 percent. A stunning 82 percent of the public said the internet had made their lives easier and more enjoyable, compared to 10 percent who said it had made life more complex and less enjoyable, with the highest positive scores coming from the 65+ age group. The poll also reveals that the public considers health to be the biggest potential beneficiary of internet innovation in future years.